deshaun-watson.jpg
USATSI

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter! 

Tyler Sullivan here getting you through this hump day and one step closer to the first full weekend of preseason action. Is it just me, or are you still trying to figure out this three-game preseason schedule? Back when it was a four-game slate, we kind of knew when we'd see some of the stars. That third preseason game was unofficially dubbed the "dress rehearsal," where the starters would play for most of the first half and it'd be the closest we'd get to regular season action. 

Now, I have no clue when the "dress rehearsal" is, and it felt like teams were all over the place in 2021. Last year, some clubs used the second exhibition to roll out the starter, while others opted to keep it that third game. Because of that uncertainty, we football fanatics will have to shake off the rust of our NFL-watching skills quickly to not miss out on any of the stars getting ready for the 2022 campaign. 

Of course, you fine folks are already extremely locked in because you subscribe to this newsletter. To help your friends out so they aren't sleeping on the latest NFL newsclick here and then share the link

You ready? Let's jump into the rundown!

1. Today's show: Roquan Smith trade request, injury news

getty-roquan-smith.jpg

After capping off the division previews on Tuesday, Ryan Wilson joined Will Brinson to comb over all the latest news in the NFL. One of the biggest headline splashes occurred in Chicago, where star linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade, citing that the Bears had been negotiating in bad faith and were giving him lowball offers. Despite wanting to remain with the Bears for his entire career, Smith eloquently explained the trade request and noted that "the new front office regime doesn't value me." 

"There's no questioning where [Smith] is coming from," said Wilson. "There's no pouting like Kyler [Murray] sort of did when he took everyone's name off of social media. And this puts the ball in the Bears' court in terms of how you're going to respond when it comes to the PR battle. I mean, it worked out for Kyler, but Kyler plays quarterback. I suppose if they came to an agreement [Roquan] would be happy to stay, but right now he's pissed off and that sometimes happens with the business part of this and there are plenty of other teams [that would be interested in him]." 

In terms of where Smith may end up, I ran through some possible landing spots, which include the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens

Meanwhile, Brinson looked at this situation from more of a big-picture standpoint and questioned whether this new brain trust with the Bears means that no one is safe in Chicago as they look to rebuild.

"Does this mean that this new Bears regime is definitely in on Justin Fields?" asked Brinson. "Because I would say Roquan Smith is their second-best young player on the team. I mean, he might be their best asset on their roster." 

No matter where Smith ends up, the Bears will be a worse club if he's moved, and it doesn't seem like there are many positive things to lean on for Chicago entering the 2022 season.

"I think the Bears and the Falcons, for me, are the least optimistic teams [in the NFL]," Brinson said. "If No. 1 was most optimistic and No. 32 was least optimistic, I would say 32 is probably the Bears."

Earlier in the show, Wilson and Brinson looked at some of the recent injuries that have come down throughout training camp, most notably Jets tackle Mekhi Becton, who likely suffered a season-ending knee injury

Despite losing a key piece to the O-line, Wilson is still bullish on New York, but said "the biggest question that still remains is Zach Wilson." When asked where he stands on their 5.5 win total, he added: "I'm going to go over. I think that they win more games than the Giants as well." 

Along with Becton, the guys discussed Joe Burrow's recovery from an appendectomy, which is going to sideline him for a few more weeks, according to his dad. Also, Jameis Winston is "day-to-day" after spraining his foot during Saints practice.

2. Roger Goodell pushes for full-season ban for Deshaun Watson

One of the biggest issues looming over the NFL currently is the league's appeal of the six-game suspension for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson came down with that recommendation last week and the league was quick to appeal, which is their right to do under the current CBA. 

At a special league meeting in Minneapolis on Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell explained why the league decided to appeal and continues to push for a year-long suspension. 

"We've seen the evidence. [Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson] was very clear about the evidence, should we enforce the evidence. That there was multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior," said Goodell. "Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that's responsible."

In her recommendation of the six-game suspension, Robinson wrote that Watson, who was accused by 24 women of sexual assault and misconduct, engaged in "sexual assault; conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL."

3. NFL owners unanimously approve sale of Broncos

denver-broncos-flag-usatsi.jpg

For the first time since 1984, the Denver Broncos are under new ownership. The sale of the franchise to the Walton-Penner family was made official on Tuesday after owners unanimously approved it during a special league meeting in Minneapolis. At the time the purchase and sale agreement was entered, the reported price for the Broncos was expected to be $4.65 billion, which would be a record for the most money spent on a sports franchise in the United States.

"We are grateful for the support and trust of the National Football League and the 31 other teams with today's vote," Rob Walton said in a statement. "We couldn't be more excited to join the Denver Broncos. It's a responsibility and privilege to serve as stewards of such an iconic franchise. We have tremendous respect for what Pat Bowlen has meant to the Broncos and look forward to building on this organization's championship legacy." 

Walton, the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is now by far the richest owner in the NFL with an estimated net worth of $65 billion. Before his arrival, Panthers owner David Tepper held the title with an estimated net worth of $16.7 billion. 

To check out the full list of the richest owners in the NFL, click here

4. Mitchell Trubisky tightening grip on Steelers QB battle

While there may have been some bumps throughout training camp, Mitchell Trubisky has continued to have a grasp of the starting job in Pittsburgh over rookie Kenny Pickett and veteran Mason Rudolph. Head coach Mike Tomlin also confirmed Tuesday that it would be Trubisky who'd line up under center if the Steelers were to play a meaningful game tomorrow. 

"It means a lot," Trubisky told CBS Sports HQ's Jonathan Jones and Bryant McFadden. "Ever since I came here, I came here for the opportunity to start and lead a team. I definitely have been given that and I'm just trying to take advantage of that every day.

"I think playing for a coach like Coach Tomlin, it just gives you confidence. I've learned so much since I've gotten here. He's taught me so much, and I think he really gives everybody on the team confidence the way he prepares the way he knows the game. It's been a lot of fun, and it means a lot to me and I'm just looking forward to it. We're building day by day and if we rolled it out, I'd go out there first, and I'm looking forward to that." 

5. Welcome back, Hard Knocks! 

dan-campbell.jpg

The first episode of HBO's hit series "Hard Knocks" debuted Tuesday night, and folks got an inside look at the Detroit Lions. Naturally, there were some highs and lows in the show, and our own Jeff Kerr highlighted the winners and losers from the first episode: 

Winner: Dan Campbell's pre-camp speech: Anyone who watched the first five minutes should want to run through a brick wall for Campbell. The players could sense the emotion in their head coach, especially the way he motivated them through the speech. There were a lot of f-bombs in the speech, but Campbell provided the quote of the night that had his players shaking.

"Doesn't matter if you have one asscheek or three toes, I will beat your ass." That's the mentality of the Lions under Campbell. 

Loser: Aidan Hutchinson's singing: While his performance of "Billie Jean" ignited the Lions in the meeting room, his dance moves leave a lot to be desired. Hutchinson's singing wasn't great, either, even if he was feeling the flow of his teammates. Hutchinson, the Michigan man playing for the Lions, admitted he was on an emotional high. He certainly is no Michael Jackson. 

To read the rest of Kerr's winners and losers, and see the videos of Campbell's speech along with Hutchinson singing, click here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: McVay confirms new deal, Dolphins trade TE to Texans

This time of the year, there's no shortage of NFL news. With that in mind, I've collected some of the notables nuggets around the league into a roundup for you to enjoy. You're welcome. 

  • Sean McVay confirms extension with the Rams. The head coach confirmed Tuesday that he inked a new contract extension with Los Angeles following the team's Super Bowl win in February. The actual terms of the deal, however, have not been disclosed.
  • Adam Shaheen dealt to Houston. The Dolphins broke ties with tight end Adam Shaheen on Tuesday, sending him to the Texans as the two clubs exchanged late-round picks. Miami acquired a 2023 sixth-round pick, while Houston received a 2023 seventh along with Shaheen. This is the second time Shaheen has been traded in his career after the Bears took him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. 
  • Marshawn Lynch arrested in Las Vegas. The former NFL star is facing multiple charges, including suspicion of DUI, after being arrested Tuesday just before 7:30 a.m. local time.
  • Frank Gore charged with simple assault. Gore, who retired in June after 16 seasons, was allegedly involved in a domestic violence incident that occurred at a hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the end of July, according to police.
  • Taysom Hill on switch from QB to TE. Moving to tight end doesn't appear to be the Saints playmaker's first choice, saying: "This isn't necessarily what I want, it's what's best for the team and I'm good with that."
  • Jakeem Grant suffers Achilles injury. The Browns All-Pro returner was carted off the field during the club's training camp practice Tuesday, and it was later confirmed that Grant suffered a torn Achilles and will be out for the season. In a statement released Tuesday, head coach Kevin Stefanski said he feels "awful" for Grant.
  • Cowboys sign kicker Brett Maher. Dallas is bringing back a familiar face as they signed Maher to a deal Tuesday following a workout. In 29 games played for the Cowboys in 2018 and 2019, he converted 49 of 66 field goals and 68 of 69 extra points.